iposuction is a commonly performed surgical procedure that slims certain body areas by removing excess fat. The body contouring procedure utilizes vacuum suction to eliminate localized fat deposits. It should be noted that liposuction is not a weight loss procedure; it is a fat loss procedure instead. It mainly targets the areas resistant to exercise and diet. Liposuction is effective in changing contour as it permanently removes fat cells that are unevenly distributed. However, liposuction may not always (unless the amount removed is extensive) prevent further weight gain but rather affects weight distribution.
Liposuction is often offered as a minor and harmless surgery, but it is a complex procedure. Liposuction is science combined with art. It requires a practical application of scientific knowledge with precision and craftsmanship - a skill attained with clinical experience. A thorough training of the surgeon and in-depth knowledge about possible complications is essential before performing the procedure.
Liposuction can treat the following areas:
Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity and cannot substitute proper diet and exercise. Moreover, it is not an effective treatment for cellulite or saggy skin.
Before the procedure
During preoperative consultations with the patient, patient expectations regarding the goal of liposuction as contouring as opposed to weight reduction are discussed. The timeline for healing over several weeks is shared with the patient. A detailed discussion of risks and benefits is undertaken, including logistics, nature of the procedure, pain management, expected time course of recovery, expected course of management of complications, and warning signs and symptoms of postoperative complications. The patients are typically shown sample before and after photos of patients with similar body stature as the patient.
Additionally, alternative management methods are discussed alongside the best, average, and worst-case scenarios related to the proposed surgery. The patient should understand the risks, benefits, and warning signs of the side effects of medications and treatments to be used in the procedure.
In communicating expected amounts of fat removal, physicians use common volume measurements of everyday items to facilitate conceptualizing the amount of fat removed for patients unfamiliar with the medical units. Regardless of the method used, it is essential to accurately document the preoperative weight and linear measurements for precise comparison of the outcomes after the operation, in addition to standard medical photography.
During the procedure
A vast majority of liposuction procedures are performed on an outpatient basis. However, in some cases, depending on the patient's variables and the surgeon's preference, patients may stay in the hospital overnight.
Just before the procedure, anesthesia is administered to comfort you during the procedure.
The choice of anesthesia may be local, intravenous sedation, or general. There is no ideal method, as each has pros and cons, and the choice depends on the patient's overall health, the estimated volume of fat to be removed, and individual patient preference. Some patients may prefer local-only anesthesia, intravenous sedation, or even general anesthesia on a case-by-case basis.
Since patients often focus on reducing downtime by selecting a minimally invasive procedure, most liposuction can be done awake, primarily when it is facilitated with laser liposuction.
Liposuction is performed through small, unnoticeable incisions.
First, diluted local anesthesia is administered to reduce bleeding and trauma. Then a thin hollow tube is passed through the incisions to dislodge excess fat deposits using a controlled back-and-forth motion. The loose fat cells are then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or needle attached to the cannula.
After the procedure
Liposuction results are visible once the swelling and fluid retention (common complaints after the procedure) subside. Immediately after the operation, the fluid and electrolyte balance of the patient is assessed. The patient's health record and the amount of fat removed determine the length of postoperative monitoring. Compression garments may be used for up to six weeks to lower the risk of edema. The timeline for recovery may sometimes be as little as 1 to 7 days depending on the areas where liposuction was performed. However, final results usually arrive over 3 to 6 months.